By Raymond Baguma
Plans are underway to establish a national data and information centre on HIV/AIDS, the chairperson of the Uganda AIDS Commission Prof. Vinand Nantulya has said.
He said that currently, there is a challenge of conflicting public messages and information given about HIV/AIDS control and the proposed centre will serve as a knowledge hub for the country.
Prof. Nantulya was on Friday addressing civil society organisations engages in the fights against HIV under their umbrella body of Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO), during their annual general meeting.
He appealed to the civil society not to abandon interventions that aim to prevent the HIV spread such as behaviour change and opposing cultural practices such as widow inheritance.
“Treatment interventions are essential, but they cannot replace prevention interventions,” Prof. Nantulya said.
He also called for the embracing of scientifically proven interventions such as safe male circumcision, and incorporate such interventions into the national HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.
He expressed concern that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is on the rise in Uganda, with figures indicating that 130,000 infections occur every year out of which 25,000 infections are reported in newly born babies.
“We can work to stop all unwanted pregnancies among HIV infected women and to care for the HIV infected mothers and their babies to lead normal and healthy lives. We need to motivate men to scale up their uptake of HIV services and participation in the response,” added Prof. Nantulya.
He also launched the UNASO five-year strategic plan from 2012 to 2017. The UNASO board chairperson Dr. Raymond Byaruhanga said the strategy prioritises the building of the capacity of UNASO members.